What is Generosity?

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. –Marianne Williamson


Generosity is freely sharing what you have with others. It is being willing to offer money, help or time when it is needed. To be generous means giving something that is valuable to you without expectation of reward or return. Many traditions measure generosity not by the size of the gift, but by what it costs the giver.

When we intentionally “live below our means” and avoid over commitment, we cultivate a sense of bounty or surplus that makes us want to share. When we give, we reap the pleasure of knowing we have made someone else’s life a little happier.


For our purposes, we use the word generosity to refer to the virtue of giving good things to others freely and abundantly.

Here are few facts:

  • Generosity can be learnt.
  • Generosity involves both attitude and action.
  • Generosity is a basic, personal, moral orientation to life. It also means the rejection of selfishness, greed, fear, meanness.
  • Generosity also involves giving to others not simply anything in abundance but rather giving those things that are good for others. Generosity always intends to enhance the true well-being of those to whom it gives.
  • What exactly generosity gives can be various things: money, possessions, time, attention, aid, encouragement, emotional availability, and more.
  • Generosity is in people’s genuine self-interest to learn and practice.


Adapted from: University of Notre Dame.